DISRAELI, Benjamin, earl of Beaconsfield, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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'If so ... the government will resign'

DISRAELI, Benjamin, earl of Beaconsfield (1804-1881). Prime minister and novelist.
Autograph Letter Signed ('D') headed 'private' to E[dward] Harper, 4 pages 8vo (some stains, one old repair), Grosvenor Gate, 28 March 1851. Avowing his intention to oppose [the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill] if it excluded Ireland from its provisions, in the hope of bringing down the Government.
The Ecclesiastical Titles Act of 1851 was a rather strange piece of legislation, brought forward in response to the emergence of newly-created Roman Catholic ecclesiastical sees following Catholic emancipation. The purpose of the Act was to make it illegal for those outside the Church of England to use the name of any existing city or town for a new diocese. In practice the law was never invoked, the Catholics continuted to create new dioceses, and the act was repealed twenty years later.

'I don't think the Government will venture to omit Ireland from the bill: but in that event, my course is decided. I shall oppose the bill altogether, & hope to induce the Conservative party to follow me in that respect. If so, the measure will be defeated, the Government will resign, & the settlement of the question will be thrown upon us. No doubt a great responsibility but we must meet it like men.'

See Benjamin Disraeli Letters, ed. M.G. Wiebe and others, vol. 5, 1993, page 422, letter 2115. Published with the omission of a few words from a Myers catalogue, 1937. A long footnote explains the background to the letter. Harper had first introduced himself to Disraeli in a letter of 23 April 1849, identifying himself as the editor of The Constitution and Church Sentinel, and had continued to correspond with him to keep him informed of the view of Irish Protestants. The present letter appears to be the reply to one from Harper 'worrying about the possibility, or probability, of the omission of Ireland from the Anti-Papal Bill'
[No: 25707]


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